Converting & Tracking Map Coordinates

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If you are using Civil 3D or Land Desktop, it includes a version of Autodesk MAP, which provides a number of methods for dealing with digital maps from multiple coordinate systems. In addition to a wide variety of advanced import and export features, MAP 3D also provides the ability to convert coordinate systems through queries, automatically converting the drawing objects from one coordinate system to another.

One of the more impressive of MAP’s coordinate system features is the ability to obtain or enter coordinates from one system, (Lat Long, for instance), in a drawing which is based on an entirely different system (such as State Plane). This feature is called Coordinate Tracking.  If you are using the 2010 product, you invoke this feature from the HOME tab on the ribbon; select Track Coordinates in the Coord System panel.

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An alternative method to launching this feature is through the Task Pane; simply right-click on the Current Drawing on the Map Explorer Tab.  This is the easiest way to find it in earlier versions of Map.

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As long as your current drawing has the correct coordinate system assigned to it, you can select any of hundreds of supported coordinate systems and see a real-time conversion in the “Track Coordinates Palette”.  Your base drawing coordinates will be displayed normally in the AutoCAD status bar, and the secondary coordinates will be displayed in the floating palette. As you move the cursor about, both sets of coordinates are available. You can then enter converted coordinates into an active command, by typing them into the palette and clicking the “Digitize” button. The converted t coordinates are then passed on to the command line automatically.

Obviously, this method is only useful for a quick and simple digitizing task, or to pick a few points and obtain their values in a different set of coordinates, but it sure beats the old method of calculating them manually.

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